Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Our Netflix Stream Team Family, Shelfies and More

Over the 2 years ChiIL Mama has been blogging with Netflix' Streamteam, they've become like family to us. And like family they've given us the heads up on cool shows to check out, and even sent us fun surprises in the mail.

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a proud member of the Netflix Stream Team. We've been compensated for sharing monthly posts with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own. ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama next month, for more Netflix fun in Chi, IL and beyond!

They really went above and beyond recently when they sent us a treasure chest of sweet dragons swag from Dragons Race To The Edge which got stolen off our urban front porch while we were at a press event and Minions Movie advance screening! Even though all the goodies had been allocated and sent, and the promotion was over, when they heard what happened, they managed to scare up another set for us! Thanks a zillion Stream Team. You rock!


(This is one seriously soft blanket for snuggling up and watching Netflix and it's been in demand. The kids and I have ALL been vying for the cool lunch box, and we shared the creatively named dragon themed treats!)

My kids may be out of elementary school but they're not too old to love Dragons Race To The Edge. Heck, I'm not too old to love Dragons Race To The Edge. I may work long and quirky hours, but one of the perks of freelancing from home is I can stop and watch Netflix with my kids! 

Sure, Netflix is a brand, but behind the company are real people with real families. And I for one can say my family is really glad we have Netflix. Now that my 12 & 14 year olds are in honors and AP programs in junior high and high school this fall, the lazy summer days of TV on the weekdays are over. Thankfully every 5 days brings a weekend and a much needed chance to relax, unwind and binge watch our favorite episodes and movies, on OUR schedule! 

Speaking of binge watching...

Our Stream Team Theme for the month is "Shelfies"

No, that's not a typo. Wondering what a shelfie is? We all have them – they’re the shows you’ve been wanting to watch but they’ve been sitting on the virtual shelf because… well, because you’re a parent and who has the time?

While you spent last year running the mom taxi, feeding, cleaning, teaching, scheduling, reminding and loving all those under your care, you probably missed episodes – if not full seasons – of some great shows. Did Olivia kick Fitz to the curb on Scandal? Who’s rocking the break room on Grey’s Anatomy? Just how long is Rick’s beard now on The Walking Dead? With full-blown fall premiere season upon us, now’s the time to hustle the kids off to school or bed, dust off your shelfies and get caught up!

Need some shelfie suggestions? Check out the great library of fall shows you can stream this month on Netflix. Here are ChiIL Mama's favs and a few top picks from Netflixs to get you started.

Thanks to my Streamteam family for sending these fun Orange is the new Black candles my way too. These votives set a great mood for cuddling up on the couch on a chill fall night and binge watching. And it's so much fun to get unexpected packages in the mail!

What We're Watching:
Some of these, like Orange is the new Black, have been on my shelfies list for years! I'm very excited to catch up on seasons 1-3, now that the kids are back in school.

Tweens and teens are such a fun age. They still like to watch cartoons with me (I'm a big push over for animation with decent plot lines) like Phineas and Ferb and Dragons Race to The Edge. And my kids are old enough to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil, Doctor Who, and Sherlock with me too.

We've also been enjoying Project MC2 which I likely never would have discovered without a tween STEM girl in the house and the heads up from my Streamteam family. Check it out! We'll have more Project MC2 experiments, an unboxing and a great giveaway this month, so check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often!

Top Pixs From Netflix:

Which shows are on your Netflix shelfie list? 

Disclosure: ChiIL Mama is a proud member of the Netflix Stream Team. We've been compensated for sharing monthly posts with our readers.  As always, all opinions are our own. ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama next month, for more Netflix fun in Chi, IL and beyond!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

INCOMING: SHERLOCK HOLMES at The Oriental Theatre Nov 24th - 29th


to star opposite

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we can't wait to see the live stage version of the infamous Sherlock mysteries. We're long time fans of the written Sherlock stories, the many TV and movie versions and now we can add a Broadway touring version to our slew of sleuth productions. Got your tickets yet?

The new theatrical adventure and fresh take on the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tales, to be staged at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre from 
Nov. 24 – 29, 2015

Broadway In Chicago and producers Starvox Entertainment and June Entertainment are pleased to announce the full cast for SHERLOCK HOLMES.  JAMES MASLOW, the actor and singer perhaps best known for playing the role of James Diamond in Nickelodeon's “Big Time Rush” and a member of the band with the same name, will star as the legendary Dr. John Watson, along with RENNE OLSTEAD, best known for her role as Lauren Miller in the TV sitcom “Still Standing,” and as Madison Cooperstein in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” as the well-to-do-American, Lady Irene St. John, opposite DAVID ARQUETTE in the title role as SHERLOCK HOLMES.  The two actors will make their stage debuts in this new and original adaptation inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tales by playwright Greg Kramer and directed by Andrew Shaver scheduled to play Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W Randolph) November 24 – 29, 2015.

The eleven member acting company includes much of the original cast from the original, critically-acclaimed Montreal Segal Centre production that premiered in May 2013, also directed by Andrew Shaver, who will restage the show for a North American tour, launching a six-performance, “Tour Preview” engagement on October 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, followed by longer runs in Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, with subsequent cities planned into 2016 and to be announced shortly. 


Watson is of course, the only friend and confidante of Sherlock Holmes as well as his best friend and flat-mate.  He is a veteran doctor with steady hands for surgery…. and firing weapons!  For James Maslow, the opportunity to take on the role that has been played by such great actors as James Mason, Robert Duvall, Jude Law, Martin Freeman and Ben Kingsley, amongst countless others, represents “a chance to stretch and show audiences a whole new side of the man who is often portrayed as dim-witted compared to the brilliant, emotionally-detached analytical machine that Holmes can sometimes be.”  He added, “and in Greg Kramer’s wildly clever script, and especially in David Arquette, I have been a great gift: I serve not only as the sidekick but as a great and intelligent foil….even though as Holmes is known to state, ‘I see, but do not observe’.”

In SHERLOCK HOLMES, Lady Irene St. John is the American wife of Lord Neville St. John who goes missing early in this new theatrical adventure, and in the course of the action, Scotland Yard turns to Sherlock Holmes to help solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearance. “I love Irene,” exclaimed Olstead, “she shows that even back then, brainy is the new sexy.  Irene is manipulative, devious, enigmatic, and clever enough to even give Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. David (Arquette) and I are having a blast in rehearsals discovering the many shades beneath her ruthless and cold exterior and her emotional intelligence towards the great ‘consulting detective’.”

This SHERLOCK HOLMES was the recipient of five prestigious Montreal English Theatre Awards, including Outstanding Production and Outstanding Director.  The Segal Centre commissioned multi-talented, British-born, Montreal-based writer, director and actor Greg Kramer to pen this fresh new take on Conan Doyle’s stories of the legendary detective.  The playwright was also supposed to play Scotland Yard detective Lestrade in the original Montreal production, but tragically, Kramer passed away on the eve of rehearsals. 

Andrew Shaver, one of Canada’s most exciting young directors, known for his work with the innovative SideMart Theatrical Grocery (Trad, Haunted Hillbilly, Gordon) and assignments with Des McAnuff for the Stratford Festival, brings his ironic and kinesthetic vision to the production and has worked on the script subsequent to Kramer’s untimely death.  Design is by Cirque du Soleil’s James Lavoie.

Produced by Toronto-based Starvox Entertainment (Corey Ross, Producer) and seasoned feature film producers, John Ryan Jr. and R Scott Reid of June Entertainment, SHERLOCK HOLMES is thrilling, humorous, full of head-scratching crimes and dazzling deduction in the face of cunning evil.  The show takes theatregoers on a heart-stopping adventure through the opium dens, the muddy docklands and the gritty backstreets of London during the turn of the century, a time of great social and technological change. 

The opium wars have ended. The Ripper has wreaked his havoc. Electricity is on the rise and Scotland Yard is in its infancy.  Lord Neville St. John gives a moving speech in the House of Lords to ban opium and a vote on the matter is imminent. Meanwhile, Professor James Moriarty, notorious criminal kingpin, plots to thwart the upcoming opium vote. When a drowned body is discovered, and Lord Neville goes missing, Scotland Yard turns to “the world’s only consulting detective” and newest resident of 221-B Baker Street:  a certain Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday at 7:30 PM
Wednesday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM
Friday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM
Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday at 2 PM

Individual tickets for SHERLOCK HOLMES are on sale now.  Group tickets for 10 or more are available by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at

For more information, visit or

David Arquette is a fourth generation actor from one of the most prestigious acting families in Hollywood. He is thrilled to be taking the stage again and honored to be playing the beloved character, Sherlock Holmes.  He was first seen on stage as Frank-N-Furter in the Tiffany Theater production of The Rocky Horror Show in 1999. He returned to the stage in Joanna Murray-Smith's, The Female of the Species, opposite Annette Bening in 2010.

In 1997, he was first discovered at Sundance for his role in “JOHNS.”   Since that time, he has acted in several dozen feature films, including the “Scream” franchise, , “Hamlet 2,” “The Grey Zone,” “Wild Bill”, “Stealing Sinatra”, “Never Been Kissed,” “Ravenous,” “Dream With The Fishes”, “Never Die Alone” and “The Darwin Awards,” to name a few.   Arquette has completed production on the independent feature, “Orion,” portraying a hunter who is fighting his way through a futuristic wasteland, and the indie action film, “Chuck Hank and the San Diego Twins.”  He will next be seen in the western thriller, “Bone Tomahawk,” alongside Kurt Russell, and the visually stunning art film, “The Key,” directed by Jeffery Levy. He can currently be seen lending his voice to the Disney Television interactive series, “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” as Scully, the lookout pirate parrot.

Arquette was most recently seen in the independent features, “The Field of Lost Shoes” and “Sold,” alongside Gillian Anderson, about a girl who risks everything for freedom after being trafficked from her mountain village in Nepal to a brothel in India.  He is also an accomplished Director (“The Tripper,” “The Butler's In Love”) and a producer of the syndicated game,” Celebrity Name Game,” airing daily, under his Coquette banner. 

James Maslow is best known as the star of the top-rated Nickelodeon program, “Big Time Rush,” and the worldwide best-selling music group of the same name.  He will next be seen as protagonist ‘Wyatt’ in the Benny Boom-directed feature film, “Wild for the Night,” set for an early 2016 release.  Maslow’s recent credits include his starring role as ‘Kevin Mohr’ on the SONY Crackle original series, “Sequestered,” alongside Jesse Bradford and Patrick Warburton, and in the lead role as ‘Bart Dollangager-Winslow’ in “Seeds of Yesterday,” the final installment in the hugely successful V.C. Andrews “Flowers In The Attic” series.  A true Triple Threat, Maslow was the last man standing and a finalist on Season 18 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Aside from his busy TV/film career, Maslow is currently in the studio developing and recording music for his debut solo EP, set for early 2016. Maslow began his professional acting career on the popular Nickelodeon series “iCarly” and completed the fourth season of “Big Time Rush” in 2013, the third longest running live-action series in Nickelodeon history.  As part of one of the most popular music groups internationally, Maslow has won countless Kids’ Choice Awards and headlined sold-out tours across the globe, most recently the Big Time Rush Live 2014 World Tour, performing at some of the largest venues across North & South America.  Born in New York and raised in San Diego, Maslow began performing at an early age, training at the prestigious La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego School of Performing Arts (SCPA).

Born in Houston Texas, Renee Olstead has amassed over nine seasons of television appearances as a regular on the hit CBS sitcom, “Still Standing” and ABC Family’s, “The Secret Life of The American Teenager.”  Her latest starring role in the 2015 Universal Pictures/Blumhouse feature,” Unfriended,” took the box office by storm and garnered her much attention both domestically and internationally. Her acting prowess, however, is matched only by her vocal talent. At the age of twelve, Renee signed to Warner Brothers Records and completed two albums produced by 16-time Grammy winning producer David Foster.

Renee has appeared and performed her music on “The Today Show,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She's performed at the "Live 8" concert in Berlin along with other performers such as Paul McCartney, Madonna and Sting and completed extensive international touring.

Renee's debut album received a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement "Summertime" and a Golden Globe nod for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture "Christmas in Love". Renee has also received many honors for her philanthropic efforts, such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters "Rising Star Award", PETA2's "Sexiest Celeb Vegetarian", and PETA's Libby Award. Renee actively works with several charities, focusing on bringing an end to animal cruelty, mentorship to at-risk kids, and eating disorder awareness.

Renee's additional feature film work includes “13 Going on 30,” appearing opposite Jennifer Garner, as well as “The Insider” and “End of Days.”  Further, Renee recently finished shooting a lead role in the upcoming feature film, “Tell Tale Lies” and a starring role in a pilot for ABC Family called “Work Mom.” 

Founded in 2005 by Corey Ross, Starvox Entertainment was ranked on Profit Magazine’s list of Canada’s top growth companies in 2013, 2014 and 2015; the only live entertainment company ever to be graded. 
In 2013, Mr. Ross was a producer on the Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS and in 2014 remounted Evil Dead – The Musical to record-breaking sales in Canada and the United States.  Starvox has toured the west-end hit show, Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, since 2012 which continues to break records in Canada and the U.S.  For Toronto, Starvox recently produced Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical, Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience, and for the holiday season, will present Dee Snider’s Rock n Roll Christmas Tale at the historic Winter Garden Theatre.
Starvox has presented three productions written and directed by Woody Harrelson, presented John Malkovich in Giacomo Variations, and produced nationally broadcast concerts for the Stephen Lewis Foundation featuring Alicia Keys and Annie Lennox. Starvox recently produced a multi-million dollar reboot of the classic Las Vegas revue show Jubilee for Caesars Casino, with pop mega-star Beyonce’s creative team.

June Entertainment is one of the industry's most dynamic film, new media, television and music video production companies.  June's extensive and experienced team internally develops, finances and produces innovative projects as well as provides entertainment promotion/distribution and talent management services.

SHERLOCK HOLMES is licensed by Copa De Oro Productions Montreal/Segal Centre For The Performing Arts

Twitter: @Sherlocktour
(local) Hashtag: #SherlockCHI


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar



Broadway In Chicago and producer Joey Parnes are pleased to announce that casting for the First National Tour of the Tony® Award-winning Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, is complete.  John Rapson will play the role of the eight D’Ysquith heirs and Kevin Massey will portray the role of Monty Navarro.  The First National Tour will preview at Proctors in Schenectady before beginning performances at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre (18 W. Monroe) September 29, 2015 through October 11, 2015.

The Gentleman’s Guide Tour will also feature Kristen Beth Williams (Sibella Hallward), Adrienne Eller (Phoebe D’Ysquith), and Mary VanArsdel (Miss Shingle). The Tour also includes Christopher Behmke, Sarah Ellis, Matt Leisy, Megan Loomis, Dani Marcus, Lesley McKinnell, Kristen Mengelkoch, David Scott Purdy, Chuck Ragsdale, and Ben Roseberry.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder features a book and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and music and lyrics by Steven Lutvak. Direction is by Darko Tresnjak, with choreography by Peggy Hickey. The design team includes Alexander Dodge (Scenic Design), Linda Cho (Costume Design), Philip S. Rosenberg (Lighting Design), Dan Moses Schreier (Sound Design), Aaron Rhyne (Projections Design), Charles LaPointe (Wig Design), and Brian Strumwasser (Make-Up Design). Orchestrations are by Jonathan Tunick and Vocal Arrangements are by Dianne Adams McDowell and Steven Lutvak. Paul Staroba serves as Music Supervisor, and Larry Goldberg serves as Music Director.

Gentleman’s Guide tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

The most celebrated musical of the 2013-14 Broadway season, Gentleman’s Guide received ten 2014 Tony® Award nominations, eventually winning four awards: Best Musical, Direction of a Musical, Book of a Musical, and Best Costume Design. In addition, it won the Best Musical prizes from the Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle, and received a 2015 Grammy® Award nomination for Best Musical Show Album.

Gentleman's Guide opened at Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre to overwhelming critical acclaim in November 2013 where The New York Times raved “Gentleman’s Guide will lift the hearts of all those who’ve been pining for what sometimes seems a lost art form.” The Hollywood Reporter enthused Gentleman’s Guide “Restores our faith in musical comedy!” And Time Magazine said “Just as I was about to give up on musicals, along comes A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder!”

Individual tickets for Gentleman’s Guide are now on sale.  Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. For more information, please visit or


JOHN RAPSON (The D’Ysquith Family). Broadway: Les Misérables (Grantaire/Bamatabois, u/s Javert, u/s Thénardier). Tour and Regional: Les Misérables, Disney On Classic (with the Tokyo Philharmonic), Sweeney Todd, Brigadoon. BFA, University of Michigan. Infinite love and thanks to Mom, Dad, Alex, Stella, Chris and the gents of CGF, the family dinner crew, and the utterly extraordinary Gent’s Guide team. Humbled and honored to be part of this brilliant piece. Now and then pigs CAN fly. This one’s for Pat.

KEVIN MASSEY (Monty Navarro). Broadway: Gentleman's Guide, Memphis (u/s Huey), Tarzan (u/s Tarzan), Deaf West’s Big River, NYCO’s Antony & Cleopatra (Eros), originated Almanzo in Little House...Prairie (1st Nat., Paper Mill, Guthrie) and D’Artagnan in Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare). Europe: Tarzan (Tarzan), Grease! (Doody). Regional: Asolo Rep’s Bonnie & Clyde (Ted), Utah Shakes’ & Kansas City Rep’s Pippin (Pippin), Skylight Music Theater's Les Mis (Marius), MUNY’s Footloose (Willard). UNC, Morehead-Cain Scholar. Proud husband to Kara Lindsay! Love to my family. @kcmassey1

KRISTEN BETH WILLIAMS (Sibella Hallward) is delighted to join this deliciously devilish company! West End: Top Hat (Dale Tremont). Broadway: Pippin; Nice Work...; Anything Goes; Promises, Promises. Other NYC: The Marvelous Wonderettes (Off-Bway), Encores!, appearances at Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. Regional: Big Fish (Sandra, Alpine Theatre Project), White Christmas (Betty Haynes, Ordway), Music Theatre of Wichita, Ogunquit, Paper Mill, to name a few. Love & thanks to Dustin, Jason, Jay, and Darko, to "The Fam" always, and to Jimmy-my home. Proud AEA member. BFA Univ. of OK. @KBDubsNYC

ADRIENNE ELLER (Phoebe D’Ysquith). Recent graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama under the New Studio on Broadway. Regional: Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (NSMT/TBTS) and Natalie in Next to Normal (Farmers Alley Theater). Proud member of AEA. Immense thanks to the GGLAM team, Binder Casting, Professional Artists, the New Studio on Broadway, and Mom and Dad.

MARY VANARSDEL (Miss Shingle). National Tour: Mary Poppins (original Bird Woman). Off-Broadway: Rebecca (54 Below), Cole Porter’s Paris. Regional: Mrs. Brill (Mary Poppins), Mama Rose (Gypsy), Carlotta (Yeston/Kopit’s Phantom), Lily Byrne (A Man of No Importance), and dozens more. Film/TV: “In the Line of Fire,” “LA Law,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Miracles,” and many more. Recording: “When at Night I Go to Sleep.” Proud member of Actors’ Equity. @mvsings

LESLEY McKINNELL (Miss Barley). Past professional experiences include playing witches, a burlesque performer, fairytale muses, a sexless virgin, and a non-drag version of Barbra Streisand, among others. Special thanks to MR, SL, Mom & Dad! @lesleymckinnell

KRISTEN MENGELKOCH (Lady Eugenia). Off-Broadway: NEWSical the Musical and Forbidden Broadway. Regional: Geva Theatre, Cape Playhouse, PlayMakers Rep, Gateway, Moonlight, North Coast Rep, SCRT, among others. Television: “Veronica Mars.” Education: MFA, San Diego State University; BFA, Emporia State University.

CHRISTOPHER BEHMKE (Magistrate). Int’l Tours: West Side Story. Off-Broadway: Mama & Her Boys. Regional: Cabaret, Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Hound of the Baskervilles. Chris also works with Project Creo, a nonprofit that uses creativity & love to empower children.

SARAH ELLIS (Swing/Dance Captain). Regional: Ogunquit, Pittsburgh CLO, Northshore, KC Starlight, Westchester Bway, WV Public. NYC: Stardust Road: The Hoagy Carmichael Musical, Musicals Tonight! BFA Penn State (WE ARE!). Endless gratitude to teachers, fam & friends-love to DR. @sell_is

MATT LEISY (Tom Copley). Off-Broadway: The Fantasticks, Carousel (PBS). Regional: Cincinnati Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, Arizona Theatre Co., Arden Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Favorites: 39 Steps, Ragtime, Red, Importance of Being Earnest, The History Boys. Graduate: Northwestern University.

MEGAN LOOMIS (Tour Guide). National Tours: War Horse (Paulette), Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett Standby), Cabaret (Helga). Off-Broadway: Alllegro (Beulah, Classic Stage Company). Regional: GeVa, Ogunquit, Merry-Go-Round, Flat Rock, NC Theatre, Maltz-Jupiter Theatre. Education: Eastman School of Music.

DANI MARCUS (Swing). Off-Broadway: The Pirates of Penzance. Regional: Created the role of Harriet in Jane Austen’s Emma (The Old Globe, TheatreWorks), Beach Blanket Babylon, Spelling Bee (SJ Rep). Love and gratitude to Timothy, Tijuana, and Jon Call.

DAVID SCOTT PURDY (Swing). NYC: A Christmas Story (Madison Square Garden); Lady, Be Good (Encores!); Zorba (Encores!). National Tour: The Producers. Regional: Anything Goes (North Shore Music Theatre). Love to Kate, Brothers, Mom, and Cleo.

CHUCK RAGSDALE (Swing) has toured the US with multiple black and white canines, frolicked with a singing cannibal Off-Broadway, and played girly princes, suicidal factory workers, and dudes with accents regionally. For my best and favorite PAL.

BEN ROSEBERRY (Chief Inspector Pinckney) Broadway/National Tour: The Lion King, Rent. Off-Broadway: Fugitive Songs, Emma. Countless regional, workshops and readings. Front man for The Fractured Years. Thanks to Sarah, the family, Darko, Binder, and Professional Artists! @Ben_Roseberry

Monday, September 28, 2015

Travel, Tech And Delicious Delights At The InterContinental Chicago

It was ChiIL Mama's great pleasure earlier this month to ChiIL out in Chi, IL at a press/blogger Tech and Travel event at the gorgeous InterContinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue. We've partnered up with the hotel before on family friendly travel packages, but this was our first visit and tour of the iconic local. We were impressed with the seamless melding of vintage, 1920's charm and modern comforts. The food was amazing, too! Check out The InterContinental's fabulous seasonal Apple Dumpling recipe below.  

The hotel's crowning glory is the Junior Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool, a historic landmark, recognized as one of the top indoor pools in the country. A pool of this magnitude on the 14th floor was an architectural wonder back in the day, and is still a glamorous setting for a soak today. This posh paradise is even family friendly! Click here for our prior coverage on their new Kid Friendly Package.

The InterContinental first opened in1929 as the Medinah Athletic Club, a men-
only athletic facility. Women are welcome now, at the good old boys club, and the men's cigar lounge is a thing of the past. The stellar views, luxury touches like a robe and slippers, world class restaurants, and convenient location remain. The InterContinental is still the only luxury hotel with a front entrance right onto the Magnificent Mile. 

Vintage meets modern. After extensive restoration and renovation, the InterContinental Chicago officially reopened its doors in 1990. The property has two, newly renovated guest towers—the Historic Tower and the Executive Tower. 

The TNT (Tech & Travel) Chicago Press/Blogger Lunch and Learn Event was truly a treat. We were hosted by Kim Orlando (Traveling Mom), Suzanne Kantra (Techlicious) and Chicago's own Kris McDonald (Little Tech Girl).

  • InterContinental Chicago: See the improvements at this grand Chicago hotel
  • Consumer Electronics Association: Discover how to make your old car new again with the latest tech add-ons
  • Hasbro: See the latest in toys just in time for the holidays

  • Determine which topics are most likely to get your articles highly ranked
  • Discover the tech “must-dos” to avoid Google’s dings
  • Make your content stand out on search engine results pages
Check back with ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We'll be reviewing some great, brand new products on the market, to connect your older car to new tech, and travel toys from Hasbro in the very near future. We have a 2003 Montero and a 1969 VW Bug dune buggy without any tech bells and whistles. There's no tech comparison to my 2014 Nissan Rogue with it's backing camera, bluetooth connectivity, and more.

InterContinental Apple Dumplings

This picture perfect pastry tasted even better than it looks and it was deceptively easy to make.

Here at ChiIL Mama, travel and tech are two of our favorite topics to cover (next to music, theatre, and mouth watering recipes and restaurants!). If you want to learn more, join the hosts for their upcoming TNT Chicago Twitter Party, this Thursday, October 1st.

Date: October 1, 2015
Time:  8-9pm CST
Follow along at Hashtag: #TNTChicago

Tuesday, September 22, 2015



After countless performances around the world and six sold-out shows in Chicago last summer, the celebrated and distinguished dance crew The Flying Steps and Red Bull Flying Bach will return to the U.S. this fall for an exclusive engagement. This year, the tour will hit Chicago for three performances at the historic Chicago Theatre (175 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601) on September 25-27.

We get it: You’re thinking “Uh, Bach and breakdance don’t go well together.” Well, the four-time breakdance world champions The Flying Steps and opera director Christoph Hagel would like to prove the contrary with their breathtaking performance, Red Bull Flying Bach. Using an interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, the show combines Bach’s classical masterpiece with modern electronic beats and clever choreography, dazzling audiences while shifting the borders between classical and urban culture. Expect a powerhouse production that’s equal parts visual amusement and delightful sound. 

The show itself is a beautiful blend of the minds of Artistic Directors Vartan Bassil (choreography) and Christoph Hagel (piano, musical director). Swedish ballerina Anna Holmström joins the seven male breakdancers of The Flying Steps, fusing key elements of urban dance culture with precision ballet. 

Red Bull Flying Bach Chicago will be three performances only:  Friday and Saturday evenings, September 25th and 26th at 8:00pm and Sunday at 4:00pm. Tickets for Chicago will range from $29.50 – $99.50 and can be purchased by visiting The Chicago Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and Ticketmaster phone charge (1.800.745.3000), as well as online at and 

Click here and scroll down for ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows' Video Interview with The Flying Steps and photo filled coverage of their first Chicago appearance last year.

The Flying Bach is a clash of cultures where classical music meets break-dance.  The Flying Steps, four time break-dance world champions, deliver a creative performance set to Johann Sebastian Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier", bridging the art forms of classical and urban culture.  The elegant music along with explosive moves creates an amazing and entertaining show for people of all ages and demographics.

Flying Steps of Germany are an award winning dance team that has succeeded in marrying urban dance culture with classical music. Founder Vartan Bassil partnered with Conductor Christoph Hagel and Flying Bach was born.  Red Bull invested in a massive sponsorship as part of its Branding investments into cultural events.  This partnership created a powerful marketing platform to launch Flying Bach and they have successfully toured Europe, Australia and Japan in 2011-14.  In 2014 Red Bull and Flying Steps were ready to take North America with performances in Chicago, Toronto, and Montreal.

FB: and | TW/IG: @redbullchi @chicagotheatre  | #flyingbach |

Sunday, September 20, 2015 Launching on October 1st

First off, what is Reviewsio? members are receiving products in the mail FOR FREE in exchange for their honest review on After receiving the product, leave a high-quality review and you get to keep the product… no strings attached!  Anybody can do this. All you need to be is a Reviewsio member, have an Prime account and write high-quality reviews! Click here to sign up.

The more good reviews a product has posted on Amazon, the more sales companies make. So, Amazon sellers are willing to give away their product at HUGE discounts to people like you, simply in exchange for an honest review. Successful sellers know the more reviews their products have the more sales they’ll get, so they’re willing to give huge discounts to make more money in the long run.

So, this is where YOU come in
Sellers need YOUR help to get more reviews!  As a Reviewsio member, you get directly connected with Amazon sellers looking to increase their sales and get more reviews.

Find a Deal
First, browse our catalog of deals listed from our sellers that contain hundreds of items which are marked down 80-100% OFF retail! We encourage to our sellers to make the discounts as BIG as possible to entice you to request their item!

If approved for the deal after requesting it, YOU get a voucher code that knocks down the price of the item at Amazon checkout.

You order it  You test it  You review it

YOU KEEP IT! It’s really as simple as that… seriously!


Babies Tots N More Kids Sale September 26th

ChiIL Mama will be there... will YOU?! Come sell your upscale, outgrown favorites and stock up on the next size up. This is a great place to find fabulous Halloween costumes too. Babies Tots n More is this week! Don't miss this.

Sneak Peek pre-sale tickets and consignor spots are still available.
Volunteers Shop FIRST, sign up today!